The body of a missing 15-year-old girl, Kathlynn Shepard, has been found in a river in Iowa, weeks after she and another girl were kidnapped from their bus stop and brought to a hog confinement facility.
The 12-year-old managed to escape and ran to a nearby farm where she called 911. A few hours after she escaped, Michael James Klunder -- the suspected abductor and killer -- was found to have hanged himself nearby.
For a small town like Dayton, Iowa, this was a rude awakening, said locals and also the sheriff. Crimes like this just don't happen in small towns. Except they do. They happen everywhere.
"We were robbed of some innocence in this whole thing," said Webster County Sheriff James Stubbs. Unfortunately, he is right. But that might not be a bad thing. Small town America may be safer in some respects, but it's still just like anywhere else. Bad things happen. Just because you live in a small town, you aren't immune from rape, murder, kidnapping, or even drug crimes. There are bad people all over the place.
But what does that mean? Does that mean you can't trust anyone?
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Not exactly. But some street smarts are a good thing no matter where you go. Call me paranoid, but no matter where I live, I lock my doors and windows. I may not have bars on them, but they are shut at night. I don't feel any more comfortable walking at night in my relatively safe suburb than I did before when I lived in the city, either.
Things happen. They happen in quiet towns 60 miles from the nearest city and they happen deep in the heart of the city. My heart breaks for this family and what they had to learn in this awful, tragic way. Horrible things can happen anywhere.
Do you think where you live is safe?
Image via police handout